Thursday, July 23, 2009

Mary Weiss (with The Reigning Sound) "Dangerous Game" (vinyl)

As you know, Mary Weiss was the lead singer with the Shangri-Las, and here in Panda Mansions we have been on a bit of a Shangs kick of late. After the Shangri-Las broke up, Weiss turned her back on the world of music, but was coaxed out of retirement a few years back to record this record with mid-western garage band The Reigning Sound. Once I heard about this album I became semi-obsessive about it, basically because there is not much Shangri-Las stuff and the Mary Weiss album was a way of getting more of it (or more of something like it).

On first listen I was not so sure about Dangerous Game, but I have become very fond of it. One great thing is that Mary Weiss still has it - her voice is in great shape, and the stripped down musical accompaniment suits her and the songs she is singing. It is good that no one approached this as a record designed to sell millions of copies, because a combination of contemporary big production and Mary Weiss singing would sound dreadful.

The songs themselves are mostly new compositions (by someone in the Reigning Sound), with one Shangri-Las cover ('Right Now And Not Later'). Mary Weiss sings like she did before, but with a voice that now suggests a certain experience of the world. Back then she was a bad girl, now she is a bad woman.

The lack of the other members of the Shangri-Las (now all deceased, I believe) means that there are no conversational interludes in the record. It would have been great to have the now old Shangs talking away to each other about how their daughters are out of control, but you cannot have everything.

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